Arizona Set to Travel to Texas

Jan. 27, 2004

On the Road Again:The No. 38 Arizona men's tennis team opens the 2004 road season against Rice University and Fresno State in Houston, Texas. Arizona is set to face the Rice Owls on Friday, Jan. 30 and the Fresno State Bulldogs Sunday, Jan. 31.

Scouting Rice: The Owls (3-0) enter the match ranked No. 24 by the ITA and to date are the highest ranked non-conference opponent the Wildcats will face. The Owls returned nine men from last year's squad that finished with a record of 20-8, ranked No. 29 and who lost in the second round of the NCAA Championships, 5-4, to Texas. This spring season, Rice has beaten Hawaii, 7-0, No. 75 University of Arkansas Little-Rock, 4-0, and No. 75 New Orleans, 4-0. Robert Searle leads the way for the Owls with his No. 15 individual ranking. Also ranked for Rice are William and Richard Barker, ranked No. 22 and 67 respectively. In doubles, the pair of William and Richard Barker occupies the No. 3 ranking.

Scouting Fresno State: The No. 36-ranked Bulldogs enter their trip to Houston with a, 2-2 record this spring season. Led by former Arizona women's head coach Brad Dancer, Fresno State defeated San Francisco and Cal Poly, 6-1, while losing to No. 7 UCLA, 7-0, and No. 21 USC, 5-2. The Bulldogs returned five letterwinners from last year's 18-9 team, while adding two new members.

Series History: Arizona hopes to avenge two losses this weekend as the Wildcats hold a 4-2 lead in the all-time series against Fresno State, with the Bulldogs winning the last contest, 6-1, in Tucson, Ariz., in 1999. Arizona is 1-5 against Rice, losing to the Owls in 2002 in Tucson, 5-2.

Last Up: On Jan. 19, the Wildcats opened their 2003 season against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. Arizona eased through the doubles matches, taking only an hour to win all three matches. Senior Tom Lloyd and sophomore Tim Mullane won their match, 8-0, over Taylor and Heck. In singles competition, Arizona swept all six matches, all the while only losing one set and playing three tiebreakers.

Ranked Cats: The Arizona Wildcats enter the week ranked No. 38 as administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Arizona fell one spot after defeated Northern Arizona Jan. 19, 7-0. The Wildcats are 1-0 on the season.

Shining Star: Senior Tom Lloyd garnered Arizona's only individual preseason ranking this year with the No. 84 ranking. Lloyd finished the fall with a 7-3 mark, with two wins coming over ranked opponents. Lloyd defeated No. 30 Alejandro Tejerina of Tulsa, 6-3, 3-0 (retired), and No. 99 Khaled El Dorry of Texas A&M, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (6). Lloyd was also ranked No. 23 in the Fall West Regional rankings. Lloyd continued his winning ways last week against NAU, earning a doubles and singles victory over his Lumberjack opponents.

Stacked Pac: Arizona once again will compete against several of the top programs in the nation this spring. All eight of the participating Pac-10 schools find themselves ranked in the preseason polls. Stanford paces the Pac-10 with its No. 5 ranking; UCLA, Washington and California round out the top 12.

Strength of Schedule: Along with the ever-daunting task of competing in the Pac-10, Arizona will face eight other ranked opponents during its non-conference schedule. Rice and Clemson lead the way ranked No. 22 and No. 24, respectively.

Strong Fall: If fall success is an indicator of spring success, several Wildcats are primed for strong spring seasons. Last fall, Colin O'Grady finished the fall with a record of 10-4, leading to an overall record of 19-14. This fall, senior Tom Lloyd finished 7-3, sophomore Roger Matalonga finished 6-3, and O'Grady was 6-4. In total, the top-six Wildcats finished the fall season 35-23, while last year's squad went 34-22 during the fall.

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